HST 430/530

U.S. Diplomatic History, 1890 to the Present

Spring 2004                                                                            Class Room: AD336

                                                                                                Time: MWF 11:30-12:20


Instructor: Dr. Pingchao Zhu

Office: 315 AD

Office Hour: MWF 12:30-1:30, or by appointment

Office Phone: 885-7166, or 885-6253

Email: pzhu@uidaho.edu

Website: www.uidaho.edu/~pzhu



            This course is designed to study the tradition, trends, characters, and problems of American foreign policy in the twentieth century.  While a profound knowledge of U.S. foreign relations is not a prerequisite, students are expected to adopt critical thinking in analyzing various theories and important events during this period.  Major questions to keep in mind in this course include: How did the United States foreign policy respond to international crises?  What are the patterns and problems of the U.S. foreign policy?  What are the new challenges to the U.S. foreign policy making?  Did Sept. 11 terrorist attack change the goal and trend of the U.S. foreign policy?  Main focuses include issues such as the presidency, policy-making process, ideological conflict, cultural factors, national security concerns, war and peace, and economic considerations.  Relevant scholarship, important theories, and major schools of thought will be introduced and discussed throughout the course.



1)      Howard Jones, Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations from

             1897, Scholarly Resources, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, 2001


2)      Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How

      It Changed the World, Routledge, 2002



1. Three examinations                                                               110 points each

2. One term paper                                                                    120

3. Attendance & participation                                                     50                                            


**Examinations consist of short essays and identifications and they are not cumulative.  A make-up exam cannot be granted without a legitimate reason.


**Term Papers is a Bibliographical Essay.  Students will choose THREE articles on one issue/event regarding U.S. foreign policy from Academic Journals.  Your task is to establish your own argument to:

            --compare different views of the authors over the same issue from the three articles;

            --compare how authors use different sources but come up with similar argument, or use the same sources and come up with different conclusions;

                        --analyze the validity the arguments in all three articles; support or attack one view or the other.

            --Academic Journals DO NOT include popular magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, or any of such kind.  Articles from internet are NOT acceptable.  Academic Journals publish research essays written with academic opinions and discussions using scholarly sources and theories.  If you are not sure of certain journals, please check with me before using them.   The University Library reference desk staff can help you in search of the academic journals.  I will also place a book entitled Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Vol. II, Since 1914, at the Circulation Desk in the library under this course (HST430/530).  This edited book consists of numerous articles under selected topics regarding both theories and decision making process in the U.S. foreign policy. 

            --The Term Paper is expected to be 5-7 pages in length, double-spaced, and typed in 12 font. No late papers will be accepted without a legitimate reason.  The paper must use the following format, having a title, giving proper information of the three articles and the journals that publish them, and providing citations with page numbers properly listed:



                                                Title of the Essay


George C. Herring, “America’s Longest War,” Diplomatic History Journal, 21 (Spring 2001): 145-168.


Rosemary Smith, “Reinterpreting the Vietnam War,” Journal of Military History, No. 2,

            Vol. 23 (Spring 1989): 145-169.


Robert Hays, “Did The U.S. Lose the War?” Journal of American History, No. 3, Vol.

44 (Fall 1999): 231-255.         


            The text……   Vietnam was a battle ground to test America’s will of fighting against Communism” (George, p. 45).  …………. “The United States lost the war in Vietnam not because its military was not capable of winning the battles” (Hays, pp. 242-43).




**Attendance is students’ responsibility.  Please be aware of that you do lose points by missing too many classes.  In case of emergency or other problems out of your control, I would appreciate you let me know about your situation either in advance or afterward.    


GRADUATE STUDENTS should meet with the instructor for special arrangement for additional work for graduate credits.


            A=500-450      B=449-400     C=399-350      D=349-300      F=299 and below


This instructor requires the entire class to follow the University of Idaho Policy of Academic Honesty, which is attached to this syllabus.  Finding of violation of this policy in student’s course assignments will result in “0” grade for the assignment, and possibly an “F” for the course.  Please read the policy carefully and follow it to the letter.  The instructor will not negotiate this university policy in any way.


Week 1,           Jan. 14-16, Class begins on Wed.

                        Introduction to the Course


                        Reading: Mead, chpt. 1


Week 2,           Jan. 21-23, No Class on Monday, National Holiday

                        Turning Point

                        Empire building

                        Spanish-American War

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 1


Week 3,           Jan. 26-28 (No Class on Friday)

                        Extending the American Empire

                        The Open Door Policy

                        Roosevelt Corollary

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 2; Mead, chpt. 4


Week 4,           Feb. 2-6

                        Wilsonism and the Great War

                        The Russian Revolution

                        The League of Nations

                        Post WWI settlement

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 3; Mead, chpt. 5


Week 5,           Feb. 9-13

                        Isolationism vs. Internationalism

                        Interwar diplomacy

                        The world of the 1930s

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 5; Mead, chpts. 2-3


Week 6,           Feb. 18-20, No Class on Monday, Presidents’ Day

                        Challenge to Democracy & U.S. Responses

                        The rise of Axis Powers

                        FDR & policy of neutrality

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 6


Week 7,           Feb. 23-27     

                        U.S. & the Far East

                        Japanese militarism

                        Pearl Harbor               

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 7; Mead, chpt. 6

                        **1st Exam on Monday


Week 8,           Mar. 1-5

                        The Origins of the Cold War, I

                        Home front

                        Wartime diplomacy

                        Atomic bombs

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 8; Mead, chpt. 7             


Week 9            Mar. 8-12

                        The Origins of the Cold War, II

                        A world divided

                        Theories & schools of thought

                        Reading: Mead, chpts. 8-9


Week 10,         Mar. 15-19, SPRING RECESS, NO CLASS


Week 11,         Mar. 22-26

                        The Origins of the Cold War, III

                        Truman Doctrine & Containment Policy

                        The Korean War

                        Reading: Jones, chpts. 9-10


Week 12,         Mar. 29-Apr. 2                       

                        The Heat of the Cold War

                        Eisenhower diplomacy

                        Cuban Missile Crisis

                        Reading: Jones, chpts. 11-12


Week 13,         Apr. 5-9

                        America's War in Asia, II

                        The Vietnam War & the debates                      

                        Reading: Jones, chpts. 13-14

                        **2nd Exam on Monday


Week 14,         Apr. 12-16

                        Detente and the lessons of the Cold War

                        Nixon, China, and Vietnam

                        Third World and Latin America                        

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 15


Week 15,         Apr. 19-23

                        Revival of a Superpower

                        Soviets & Afghanistan

                        Reagan’s era

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 16

                   **Bibliographical Essay due on Monday


Week 16,         Apr. 26-30

                        The New World Order

                        New Problems

                        The Middle Eastern crisis

                        Reading: Jones, chpt. 17


Week 17,         May 3-7                      

                        International Terrorism

                        Patterns & traditions

                        US policies & strategies

                        New challenges

                   **3rd Exam on Friday


**The above course schedule is subject to changes by the instructor.